Cable, DBS Get in CES Stew

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As the Consumer Electronics Show got going in Las Vegas, cable — though a bit player in the gadget fest — and satellite-TV players made noise by helping make TV programming mobile, enhancing home digital video recording options and advancing the cause of standards-based two-way digital TV.

Delphi Corp. and Comcast Corp. said they would work together to let consumers find programming they want and transfer it to a Delphi wireless-enabled rear-seat video system for vehicles.

Microsoft Corp. — whose chief software guru, Bill Gates, gave his annual address Thursday — trumpeted a few deals, including one with MTV Networks to figure out ways to deliver news, music videos and more to Microsoft’s Portable Media Centers.

Microsoft also showed off MSN Video Downloads, making TV shows and video clips available to Windows Mobile-based devices. Content providers include Fox Sports, CNBC, MSNBC and Food Network.

DirecTV Inc. is making 125 video channels available to customers using a KVH Industries automotive antenna, and will resell Starz! programming into the vehicle market. It also signed a deal to use Ucentric Corp. software to enable multi-room digital video recording.

EchoStar Communications Corp. Dish Network showed off some new goods, including a multi-room, high-definition DVR and “Dish On Demand,” pushing movies into DVRs.

Time Warner Cable will offer surplus DVR storage to customers via a Maxtor Corp.-supplied hard-drive “sidecar,” and formally disclosed plans to work with Samsung Electronics on two-way digital TV sets complying with the OpenCable Applications Platform. LG Electronics also signed license agreements with Cable Television Laboratories Inc. to build OpenCable-compliant middleware into TV sets and set-tops.

Time Warner also said it would deploy Scientific-Atlanta Inc.’s new Explorer 8300 multi-room DVR in its Minneapolis division. It lets consumers exploit a single DVR in up to three additional rooms.

And ESPN flipped the switch on ESPN2 HD at CES, at 4 p.m. Vegas time with a college basketball tripleheader. The service has distribution deals with DirecTV and Adelphia Communications Corp.

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